Facebook Can Influence Your Mood: Study

Now blame your friend's status for you bad mood

 

Scientists have found out that emotions can spread among users of online social networks like Facebook, so next time you feel depressed check if your friends posts are spreading that.

Social scientists at Cornell University, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, reduced the amount of either positive or negative stories that appeared in the news feed of 689,003 randomly selected Facebook users, and found that the so-called “emotional contagion” effect worked both ways.

“People who had positive content experimentally reduced on their Facebook news feed, for one week, used more negative words in their status updates,” said Jeff Hancock, professor of communication at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and co-director of its Social Media Lab.

“When news feed negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred: Significantly more positive words were used in peoples’ status updates,” Hancock said.

The experiment is the first to suggest that emotions expressed via online social networks influence the moods of others, the researchers said.

Researchers in the study never saw the content of actual posts, per Facebook’s data use policy; instead, they counted only the occurrence of positive and negative words in more than 3 million posts with a total of 122 million words.

They found that 4 million of those words were “positive” and 1.8 million were “negative.”

Hancock said peoples’ emotional expressions on Facebook predicted their friends’ emotional expressions, even days later.


TAGS: Facebook, Social Media